In an effort to update some downtown and highway businesses, the Town of Clayton will consider expanding its facade-improvement grants to include more types of renovations.
Since 2008, the town has offered a 50-50 match up to $5,000 for sprucing-up work undertaken by businesses and building owners. Next month the town council will consider extending matching funds to non-facade work downtown, like adding landscaping, updating lighting or replacing air conditioning window units with heat pumps.
Planning director David DeYoung said the town had offered funds two years ago for site work at businesses on N.C. 42 and U.S. 70 Business. Among other projects, he pointed to work at Fran’s Auto and to a moved fence and landscaping at the Amoco on 70 Business.
“We’ve had some successes using the program,” DeYoung said. “Notably Fran’s auto. Dilapidated signs came down, landscaping went in, and the parking lot, which was previously gravel, was paved.”
DeYoung said the town typically reserves $35,000 annually for facade-improvement grants, with any leftover funds falling back into the general fund. In fiscal year 2014, the town spent $28,955.45. That total climbed to $32,397.36 in 2015 and $30,822.53 this year.
The grants require an application, but DeYoung said the Downtown Development Association and the town planning department suggest work to most participants. He said that in the realm of brick-and-mortar renovations, a high tide raises all ships.
“Aesthetics drives businesses,” DeYoung said. “If things don’t look nice and pretty in town, a business might decide not to locate there. [The work] adds value, raises rental prices for downtown building owners.”
Drew Jackson: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104; @jdrewjackson